Self-cocking, courtesy of Mershon & Hollingsworth

Here we see a rare prototype Colt Model 1860 Army Percussion Revolver with Mershon & Hollingsworth Cocking Device.

prototype Colt Model 1860 Army Percussion Revolver with Mershon & Hollingsworth Cocking Device
The Mershon and Hollingsworth used a wind-up spring to power a ratchet inside the hammer while a fold-out handle on the left side of the revolver’s frame was used in winding the spring. When wound and the trigger was pulled, the hammer fell, busted the percussion cap and ignited the charge in the chamber– firing the round.

patent Mershon & HollingsworthThen– and here is where the magic occurred– a lug at the rear of the trigger slipped into the device and kept it motionless and when the trigger was reset, the lug backed out, allowing its spring to rotate an internal wheel (here is where the winding came in) that moved the hammer back to full-cock, and at the same time, unlocked, rotated, and re-locked the cylinder.

prototype Colt Model 1860 Army Percussion Revolver with Mershon & Hollingsworth Cocking Device 3

Seems like a lot of moving pieces to make the single action gun a very complex double action.

prototype Colt Model 1860 Army Percussion Revolver with Mershon & Hollingsworth Cocking Device 2These loaders were not popular, but are very steampunk in their nature, even if they are a bit Rube Goldberg meets Samuel Colt.

Description of this particular revolver as per the auctioneer via Collectors Books:

Serial no. 3803, .44 caliber. Standard cylinder and 7 ½-inch barrel with New York markings. Custom brass frame with case-hardened hammer and oil-finished walnut grips. Right side of frame with circular German silver fitting inscribed: Mershon & Hollingsworth/Sept. 8th 1863. Left side of frame fitted with wheel-shaped steel panel cocking device with folding rim. Evidently designed to create a self-cocking revolver similar to the later British Fosbery revolver. Rear of frame with fire-blued lever engaging the hammer and evidently serving as a safety. Elongated hammer. Condition: Fine. Barrel retains 90% plus blue finish mixed with brown patina. Cylinder retaining much blue finish. Estimate: $25000 – $35000

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Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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